Breathing new life into Winchester’s old farm buildings

Press Release: 07/01/2008

Landowners across the Winchester District are being invited to a seminar about reusing redundant rural buildings.  Wednesday 23rd January is the date set for Winchester City Council’s first planning seminar to encourage farmers and rural landowners to put old buildings back into economic use.

Planners and conservation officers from Winchester City Council have been invited to speak at the seminar which will take place between 4pm and 6pm at Uplands Park Hotel in Droxford.  They will be outlining the opportunities available to owners of disused buildings – ranging from holiday accommodation conversions to storage and light industry - and taking some of the mystery out of the planning system to advise owners to make the most of dormant assets. 

Chris Langford of Southwick Estates will be describing his own, successful journey in taking a number of disused rural buildings towards a more economically viable future.  He has a positive experience of working with planning officers to make sure the outcome is the best for his farm, the landscape and the local economy.

The planning seminar comes at a key point in the Local Development Framework (LDF) process. January sees widespread public consultation on the issues and options which the LDF, the emerging successor to the Local Plan, will need to address over the coming 20 years.  New development in the countryside is often cause for concern, so making best use of existing buildings is one way to limit that impact.

Cllr George Beckett, leader of Winchester City Council and portfolio holder for economy and tourism, is pleased to be encouraging creative futures for rural buildings. He said: “As a Council we are committed to supporting the local economy, and our farmers and rural landowners are a critical part of this in a district like Winchester where the majority of our residents are living in rural areas.  This is a pilot training session designed to give specific advice for those in a position to provide jobs and opportunities at a very local level for local people.  If feedback is positive we will certainly be keen to run this and other similar events again in the future.”

For further information and to register your wish to attend the seminar, please email or telephone economic development officer Kate Crawford on 01962 848 563.